Return to Heaven Denied
[Pick Up]

My interest in the band first peaked when I heard the song "Thunder." Judging from this song (which is on this album) Labyrinth seemed to be an extremely solid mid-paced power metal outfit. I heard that Fabio Lione from Rhapsody was in this band under the name "Joe Jerry," but no such name appeared in the booklet. It appears Metal Blade have a license for this album, so you can expect good distribution. Regardless, I paid thirty dollars Canadian.

The first song, "Moonlight," opens with an acoustic introduction akin to Opeth. There are 70's progressive rock influences throughout this disc. While Opeth and Labyrinth are completely different bands, they may share the same influences, which create similar sounds. But when I first listened to this CD I was not immediately impressed.

The vocals seemed extremely cheesy. I thought I might get used to it, like I did with Nocturnal Rites. The vocalist is extremely talented, but his choices for notes and chords make many passages feel like a bad 80's love songs. Because of the style the vocalist has chosen, I feel that 70% of the time the vocals detract from the music.

The quality guitar work ranges from good to absolutely phenomenal. I was intimidated by much of the Rhapsody-esque soloing. Aside from the soloing, most of the riffs are not anything extraordinary. The biggest disappointment comes from the fact I know they are capable of playing much more technical or interesting music. I know palm-muted double picking is a common technique among power metal bands, but it over used on this album!

There's not too much to say about the drumming. However, the drummer is a human drum machine. Double bass always remains in perfect time with the palm-muted double picking and triplets. A solid and tight performance, but the drum riffs are unmemorable and do not enhance the music.

There are keyboard parts scattered throughout most of this disc. Music and samples range from symphonic & choral to spacey & 70's. Most of the time the keyboards add to the music and even do trade-off solos with the lead guitar.

If I knew what this disc sounded in its entirety before I had purchased it, I would not have - especially for the outrageous price of thirty bucks. If you can find it in the bargain bin I'd suggest buying this disc, as the first couple of tracks are good, or even just for the song "Thunder."

1999 dylan darkcrown